I wonder if Mick intended his rock and roll to change the world, and surely, his passion for rock and performance made a mark on us all. Playing keyboards with my first rock garage band in the 70s meant performing covers by The Stones. Today the video games Rock Band & Guitar Hero connected The Stones with a new generation and reconnected with ours. Further exposure is fueled by social media, YouTube, iTunes and other digital media sources. The Rolling Stones continue to innovate with the times.
Consider the physics of innovation. Newton’s First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force. As business consultants we find ourselves being that outside force – leaning into a client to innovate somehow, someway in their organization to avoid staying at rest. Staying stagnant in business means you get left behind.
Face it – we are not all futuristic. In the book, Strengths Finder, Tom Rath tells us that having futuristic as a core strength makes you the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. You strive to develop a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world. When the present condition frustrates a futurist, they are energized by conjuring future visions and infect those around them with their energy. Ahhhh… the magic of entrepreneurship. Tom tells futurists to surround themselves with others who are eager to put your vision in motion. Futurists are catalysts for innovation.
A investor told me this week that innovation run wild becomes overselling – bordering on untruth. Presenting your vision as fact prior to proving success will indeed get you in trouble.
Here are some guidelines to consider:
1. Understand your team – find the futurists and connect them with people who can connect the dots from the current state to that future. Surround them with people who can implement, measure. Give them the freedom to follow their passions and try new things. Provide them the resources to validate their ideas.
2. Failure is the path to success. Thomas Edison quote: I didn’t fail, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
3. Provide a medium for innovation that works for your organization. Whether that’s weekly meetings, an inside blog, or an old school suggestion box, your employees, partners and customers are the best source of defining problems which provide you an opportunity to create something better.
4. Employ diversity within and without. Bring in experts in other industries, consultants, and authors. What they say in the moment may simmer for a time before you find it streamlining process within your business.
We’d love to hear your ideas on innovation.